7 Ways to Choose Continuing Education

To become and stay a leader in your profession you need to continue to learn. With all the continue education opportunities available how do you choose?   Roger Takashashi, Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Vancouver Canucks and fellow Kinesiologist spoke at the 20th Anniversary of the British Columbia Association of Kinesiologists in November.  The crowd was mainly undergraduate Kinesiology students, though there were a few veterans who came to hear him speak.  His session was a question and answer format.  A key point he made was that his degree in Kinesiology at Simon Fraser University was the foundation to his current career, knowledge and experience. 
A university degree is not the end of professional training. If we stick to one field we have about 30-40 years of work to accomplish before we retire. The world is changing fast and so is the  body of knowledge. Takahashi explained that he is able to connect what he learned in his course work to what he does on a daily basis with NHL players. It helps him fundamentally understand how each each exercise affects his clients physiology, state of recovery and biomechanics.  I can relate to this. He emphasized that to stay sharp, competitive and prepared we need to be continually be learning. 
The average amount per employee that is provided in Canada for education and training is around $650 and great companies spend about 3% of their budget on training.  I often hear that continuing education is an expense; instead think of it as an investment towards future earnings growth. Investing in continuing education over the last ten years has made a significant impact on my income and success of my business. Many professions also have a minimum number of continuing education credits needed per year to maintain their designation.

How to Choose Appropriate Continuing Education

There is a plethora of continuing education courses now for Kinesiology, rehabilitation and fitness and I am certain the same is true for other industries. How do we choose, especially when our budget can at times be small.

1. Make a Someday/Maybe List and a Must Take List

Remember many courses and conferences are offered annually or semi-annually.  What are some courses that would be nice to take and what courses are must takes?

2. Follow Your Passion

 Is there a stream or specialty of your profession that you are passionate about? Make courses in that stream the priority. For me it is musculoskeletal, orthopaedic and neuromuscular disorders.

3. Figure Out What is Missing

Is there a piece of knowledge that you are missing that would add value to your client interactions? Take those. I found a solution to unlocking clients lack of mobility in 2007.I  found Fascial Stretch Therapy.  A friend and excellent Kinesiologist, Paul Turner of Three Peaks Kinesiology and I looked at each other and said “we have to take this.” Three months later we were in Arizona for Level I.

4. Figure Out How You Learn

Kinesiology education has a hands and experiential quotient, however there are plenty of other ways to learn some of the theory.  Are you a visual, kinesthetic or auditory learner? Most people are predominantly one, however they are also a mix.

5. Set an Education Budget, But Learn to Stretch It

If there is something you really want to attend figure out a legal and ethical way to make the additional cash to attend.

6. Will It Make an Impact? 

Will this new knowledge make an immediate impact on the way practice, run your business or add more value to client interactions? Pick the courses that you can experience immediate improvement in your practice. Sometimes the return takes a little bit of time. People will pay more when you add more value.

7. Find Free Stuff and Share with Others

 You don’t need to spend big bucks or travel the world. Though, travelling to out of town places is a great way to learn from some of the best directly and network with others. It easier to learn from your peers by connecting through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Also, you can easily learn by sharing blog articles, researching online, listening to free podcasts and attending webinars all on your own schedule.
Oh, there is also the library (physical and electronic). You can now download pretty much most things to a mobile device, laptop or table to take anywhere you are. Industry journals will also have CECs quizzes for you to complete. When you find something really neat, share with your colleagues.

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